Taking your Savannah cat (and any domestic cat) from the USA to the UK

I’ve been asked to look into how you can take your Savannah cat with you to the UK from the USA. This will apply to any domestic cat. The Savannah cat in question is an F3 but this is irrelevant in this instance. Note: In the UK, F2, F3 and F4 Savannah cats are legal. So, importing an F3 Savannah cat into the UK is fine provided you follow the following rules. F1 Savannah cats need a license as they are first filial wild cat hybrids.

Pet health certificate
Pet health certificate in the UK. Image: BBC.

The rules are very complicated and confusing. The explanations on the UK side are not great either. Below is what I believe you have to do if you are living in America and you want to travel to the UK with your domestic cat companion.

  1. Ensure that your cat is micro-chipped
  2. Ensure that your cat has a rabies vaccination. THIS IS A COMPLICATED AREA OF THE RULES. If the cat is less than 15 weeks old and has not been vaccinated for rabies for 21 days before entry into the UK it will not be allowed to enter the UK. For cats at least 15 weeks old and vaccinated for rabies more than 21 days before travelling to the UK, the rabies vaccination must occur the same day or after the microchip implantation. This would be normal because kittens are micro-chipped and the rabies vaccination would probably take place after the micro-chipping. The point here is that the rabies vaccination cannot take place before the microchip is implanted otherwise the vaccination will be invalid. The microchip implantation date must be documented on the UK health certificate. The first rabies vaccination after the microchip implantation is the primary rabies vaccine and it is valid for one year only. If a cat travels more than 12 months after the first rabies vaccination there will have to be a booster vaccination and there must be written documentation that it has taken place within 12 months of the primary vaccination. NOTE: check with your veterinarian in America on this because it could be a bar to entry with your cat if you get it wrong.
  3. Ensure that there has been a 21-day waiting period after the primary rabies vaccination.
  4. Ensure that a USDA accredited veterinarian has completed and issued (and signed) the UK health certificate. Note: I presume that US vets have pro forma copies of this certificate. This is an Animal Health Certificate. It is a 10 to 14-page document which confirms your pet is microchipped and vaccinated against rabies.
  5. Ensure that an Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service endorsement is on the UK health certificate. This means that it should be countersigned and embossed/sealed.

That as I understand it are the rules for bringing your domestic cat into the UK from the USA. The original documents needs to be carried with you. Photocopies won’t be enough.

Dogs need a tapeworm treatment as well but this doesn’t apply to cats.

In following these rules there WON’T be a need for the cat to be placed in quarantine on arrival at the UK.

I also understand that the USA is categorised as a Part 2 listed country in respect of cat travel arrangements.

My thanks for this information goes to the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, a US Department of Agriculture. The UK government website on this is confusing.

WARNING: as I said, this is a highly confusing procedure. I’ve done my best to seek out the rules. I believe that I am accurate. But you should confirm the procedure with your veterinarian or anybody else you can trust and who should know what the rules are. I have to give this warning to protect myself. Sorry.

Please search using the search box at the top of the site. You are bound to find what you are looking for.

The nightmare of importing cats from Ukraine via Poland to the UK

A lady on the mumsnet.com website requires urgent advice about importing cats from Poland to the UK. But one the cats (a mother) originally came from Ukraine and the other is a kitten born to the mother in Poland. She is putting up a Ukrainian family. They’ve been in the country for 4 months and they had planned to bring their cat to the UK. While their cat was in Poland on transit to the UK, she had kittens. One of the Ukrainian family members has gone back to Poland to pick up the mother cat and a kitten and they’re not clear how to do it under existing regulations.

Pet passport
Pet passport. But is enough to get your pet into the UK from Ukraine via Poland. No, you’ll need more. Image in public domain.

The cats have pet passports but she asked whether she can bring the mother and her kitten to the UK on their passports or is there more to do? Will the cats have to go into quarantine? The acclaimed EU ‘pet passport’ is not a passport on its own to free pet travel into the UK under these circumstances. There is more to do.

Delving into this problem more or less for the first time, it is clearly a complete nightmare to try and work out what to do next. The problem is that the UK has left the European Union which itself causes great complications in importing cats from the European Union. Poland, as you know, as in the European Union. And there’s rabies in Ukraine but not in the UK. That’s a complication.

The advice on the UK government website is pretty good but it is very complicated. And I think the advice reproduced below is the relevant advice in this instance.

If you are from Ukraine and are seeking refuge in the UK, you can bring your pet dog, cat or ferret without it going into quarantine or isolation if it has:

  • been microchipped
  • been vaccinated against rabies and had a blood test 30 days later to confirm the vaccine worked, and waited 3 months after the blood test to travel to the UK
  • a GB pet health certificate
  • had tapeworm treatment (dogs only) between 24 hours (one day) and 120 hours (5 days) before travel

If your pet does not have a GB pet health certificate but does have an EU pet passport, call the Animal and Plant Health Agency on +44 3000 200 301 for advice.

You will need a licence to bring your pet to the UK if your pet:

  • does not meet all these requirements
  • meets these requirements, but you do not have proof that it does.


The key, as I see it, is to try and contact the Animal and Plant Health Agency on the telephone number provided. Bearing in mind that Britain is broken and the various organisations are very hard to contact, I wouldn’t expect great success.

But this woman’s problems are complicated by the fact that the cat originally came from Ukraine and is entering the UK via Poland. And then of course she gave birth to kittens. There are several layers of complications as I see it which requires a telephone call really to try and work your way through these issues to find a resolution.

Below are some more articles on this topic which I hope help a little bit. They provide some background information.

UK: Number of Pet Passports Have Soared to a Record High

EU’s bureaucratic pet transportation rules causing cats and dogs to be abandoned at border by Ukrainian refugees?

Relaxation of rules taking animals from Ukraine into adjacent and EU countries (March 2022)

Please search using the search box at the top of the site. You are bound to find what you are looking for.

How to get a cat used to his travel carrier (and more)

How to get a cat used to his travel carrier? You let him explore the carrier at home. Then you give him a treat inside the carrier. Then you carry him around the house. Then you practice carrying him outside. You then give him a treat with petting when using the carrier outside. That’s it! Patience will be the key and I think you need to give him time to get used to each phase of this process.

Dan Nguyen and his three cats with 2 travel carriers and one on his shoulders
Dan Nguyen and his three cats with 2 travel carriers and one on his shoulders. Photo: Olivia Nguyen.

The video comes from a man, Dan Nguyen who knows all about training a cat to use a travel carrier. He has gone well beyond that phase and has also trained his cats to use a leash. And he’s gone well beyond that phase because he has trained his cats to get used to being in cities all over the world on a leash but they most often like to sit on his shoulders. Yes, all three of them. He’s become quite famous because of it!

He could not do this without Olivia Nguyen who I believe is his wife. She makes the videos and takes the photographs for social media. Without her there would be no famous, celebrity cats travelling the world with Mr Nguyen.

His trio of cats are Sponge Cake who is a Scottish Fold and a couple of British Shorthairs whose names are Mocha and Donut. They are all two-year-old males. They have posed in front of the Eiffel Tower and travelled on gondolas in Venice and had their photographs taken in front of the Duomo in Milan.

He decided to travel the world with his cats because he’s only young once and he decided that he won’t be in the mood to do it when he is old. And of course, he loves his cats and he likes travelling. He had some trips planned and because they found it hard to be without his cats, they decided to bring them along.

He freely admits that it is “untraditional to travel the world with a cat, let alone three, but we love them and they love us, so it doesn’t feel so crazy to us.”

They live in New York City. They initially got them used to being outdoors in a carrier in Central Park. They graduated from pet carriers to leashes and “they seemed to enjoy being outside and exploring,” said Dan.

Travelling with one of his cats in a travel carrier
Travelling with one of his cats in a travel carrier. Screenshot from video captured by Olivia Nguyen.

RELATED: Should I take my cat with me on vacation?

The first trip away from home was to Disney World in Orlando, Florida. He said that they were nervous at first so he kept them in their backpack carriers but “we started walking them around the resort grounds on the leashes and they got used to it pretty fast.”

When flying around America, they accompany him in the cabin and “They mostly just sleep on the plane. There are all so relaxed and quiet. Sometimes other passengers on the plane don’t even realise we have three cats with us.”

They loved visiting Paris. He said “We put them down on cobblestone streets and they took off, exploring every storefront until they decided to stop at a patisserie. Everyone walking by stopped to watch these little kitties discovering the shops of Paris.”

They loved Venice too. And so, it goes on. They’ve got used to it. And this is the key point. Because of that they are able to explore safely and be constantly stimulated. It’s a good thing but ironically the RSPCA in the UK recommend that cat owners do not walk their cat on a leash because “walking outdoors exposes cats to unfamiliar scents they might find threatening, and to potentially frightening experiences, including dogs, strange people, loud noises and cars.”

Under these circumstances cats might panic and be harmed. And I agree with them in principle but their assessment, I believe, is too negative and they are generalising. Cats are very adaptable and you can, with patience, get them used to being outdoors on a leash and behaving in a safe manner. And when you’ve achieved that goal, you’ve achieved the holy grail of cat ownership because you can keep them safe indoors (and wildlife safe at the same time) while safely allowing them to explore the outdoors. This is exactly what millions of wildlife conservationists, ornithologists, city administrators, county administrators, state governors, dog owners and cat haters want.

They want cats to be indoors and not allowed to wander freely outside. The Nyugen family have achieved this and gone to the next level.

Below are some more pages on air travel.

Please search using the search box at the top of the site. You are bound to find what you are looking for.

Cat travel cage and thoughts on flying with a cat

What is the best kind of cat travel cage? I am thinking here of aircraft travel. For traveling in a car there are a myriad of cat and pet cages or carrying devices, all of which will be fine. But when we fly with a cat, we are using a third party (an outside agency, the airline) and they are bound to have rules generally in addition to rules about cat travel cages and cat travel. Also, as a cat travelling on a plane is usually going to be travelling for considerably longer than the usual car journey, extra provisions need to be in place. There is also the fact that cat might be in the hold so cannot be monitored directly. And it is oh so stressful.

United Airlines had most animal deaths last year
A United Airlines cat traveller. Good luck and Bon Voyage.

This is what I would do in preparation:

  1. Telephone the airline and find out exactly what their requirements are regarding pet carriers, cat cages. Different airlines may have different size requirements. And if the cat travel cage is the wrong size it won’t get on the plane and that is the end of the journey — chaos follows.
  2. Pets need a ticket, so that has got to be bought and as mentioned if we travel with more than one cat or pet it may be necessary to leave one in the aircraft’s baggage hold area. That will probably affect the ticket price (i.e. the cat in the cabin will have a more expensive ticket!)
  3. The phone call to the airline (or brochure) should include details of the airline’s pet age restrictions and companion animal health code. These will probably include [this is not a comprehensive list] — (a) a minimum age requirement of 8 weeks and weaned (b) no more than 2 kittens 8 weeks to 6 months of age and weighing 20 lbs or less may be transported in the same kennel (c) a vaccination certificate for all adult cats (d) a veterinarian’s health certificate dated within 10 days for domestic flights and 2 weeks for international flights (e) the airline may require a vet’s note to say that the cat can withstand temperatures within a certain range. Clearly, regulations and rules will vary from country to country as well as airline to airline. The ‘pet passport’ requirements are complicated. A considerable amount of time and attention to detail appears to be necessary unless flying within the EU for instance.
  4. The cat travel cage should have sufficient space to stand and turn inside the cage (subject to size requirements if travelling in the cabin).
  5. The cage should be strong enough to prevent crushing and the floor should be water tight to prevent urine leakage (absorbing base would be useful)
  6. The cat travel cage should be well ventilated (goes without saying really).
  7. The cage should have a stable water provider unit or tray that ideally can be topped up from outside the cage.
  8. Ideally the cat should be familiar with the cage before travelling as it may help reduce stress.
  9. The cage should be identified clearly with the person’s and cat’s details and particulars.
  10. Tranquillizing cats before flights should be done with a vet’s approval only.
  11. The cat should be fed and watered before travel and I’d make sure she had gone to the toilet before travel too and I mean No.1s and No 2s). I know my cat’s habits so can tell when she will go to the toilet (more or less). Although I am not sure how you ensure that your cat has gone to the toilet 😉.
  12. It might be that your cat is allowed out of the carrier (if in the cabin) in which case a leash is a must I would have thought, which means leash training too (gets complicated doesn’t it! – see cat on a leash)
  13. Clearly insurance needs to be looked at especially if our cat is valuable financially (all companion cats are valuable emotionally or should be).
  14. It is probably wise to have our cat checked over by a vet before flying, just in case.
  15. Foreign countries may require quarantine (i.e. a country that is rabies free from a country where there is rabies). This should be checked out but perhaps the vet’s certificate will cover this.
  16. The flight time should be minimized, ideally, with direct flights. The thought of getting a connecting flight with my cat would give me nightmares!
Cat flier at Frankfurt International Airport
Cat flier at airport. Photo source: Marco Feldhoff.

Calming measures when flying with your cat and some more thoughts

Some owners might think that their cat requires a sedative to see them through the flight without too much stress. It might not be necessary because it seems that cats do better even when flying for the first time than people often think.

The advice is that if a sedative is used the owner and veterinarian should have conducted a trial run beforehand because individual cats react in different ways. You don’t want to learn about problems with sedatives just before you travel.

It is said that it is useful to have two types of cat carrier: one for taking your cat to a veterinarian and the other for flying. The idea here is to avoid giving your cat a signal that they are going to a vet which is a stressful experience when you put them in the cat carrier. But if you put them in a different cat carrier, they might not have that initial stress.

The Problem with Shipping Pets on Aircraft

The advice is to train your cat to accept the cat ‘flight carrier’. That means leaving it out and making it a comfortable area so that the cat associates the carrier with a pleasurable situation. The advice is to place the carrier in a warm place and put a favourite toy in it together with a soft blanket to make it as appealing and as warm as possible. When it is used the cat should be rewarded.

Further advice is to go on short journeys with your cat in the carrier that you intend to use for the flight. And these journeys might get longer so your cat acclimatise is to it.

Ask about your cat in the cargo hold of an aircraft

A lot of cat owners know about artificial pheromones that you can buy over-the-counter which helps calm cats. The best known is Feliway. It should be sprayed within the carrier which would hopefully provide a cat with a feeling of safety and reassurance.

Air travel for cat
Air travel for cat. Image in public domain.

Cats have to be removed from the cat carrier one you go through security. This is an opportunity for a cat to escape. This is particularly likely to happen because your cat will be stressed as you are in a foreign place. The advice here is to swaddle your cat in a blanket. I would also fit a harness before placing your cat in the carrier to which can be attached a lead when removing him or her from the carrier security.

You will have to ensure that your cat gets used to the harness because the best harnesses are wide and place pressure on the flank which tends to make cats go floppy and behave in a rather strange way. It would certainly be useful if the cat is leash trained before flying because it helps to provide a backup, manageable situation if the cat has to come out of the carrier.

In America, I’m told that most airlines offer space for cats in either the cargo area or the cabin. For longer flights placing your cat under the seat in front of you is perhaps less successful than placing your cat in the hold particularly as airlines have special areas in their cargo space to keep cats and dogs safe and as calm as possible. It also means that you can place your cat in a larger crate which allows you to place more facilities within the crate such as the litter box and small bed.

Please search using the search box at the top of the site. You are bound to find what you are looking for.

Relaxation of rules taking animals from Ukraine into adjacent and EU countries (March 2022)

There is no need for refugees to abandon their companion animals when leaving Ukraine. We know that many Ukrainian women are fleeing with their companion animals and their children. They make their way to adjacent countries like Poland, Hungary, Romania and Moldova. They struggle to get to these borders often carrying a cat or dog in their arms rather than in a carrier. Ukraine does not allow men to leave the country as they have to fight the Russians.

Under normal circumstances regulations would be in force at the border to ensure that pets are vaccinated against diseases such as rabies and micro-chipped and in order to comply with that country’s regulations.

PETA have provided an excellent page on how these bordering countries have facilitated entry of companion animals. The general gist is that Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia (they don’t mention Moldova) have relaxed entry requirements in order to avoid refugees abandoning their pets at the border.

PETA Germany at Ukraine Border Feb 2022
PETA Germany at Ukraine Border Feb 2022. The relaxation of border control rules regarding companion animals is to avoid what we see in this photograph with PETA apparently rescuing a cat. The photograph is by PETA.

Refugees should be reassured that they will be able to get their companion animals through the border with themselves. For example, PETA’s latest information from Poland is that the government is allowing companion animals to enter the country without vaccinations, a microchip or tattoo ID or a blood test. However, once they have entered Poland, they must complete traditional paperwork for the animals.

If refugees are travelling onwards to another EU country, they must leave their animals behind in quarantine at the shelter near the border for three weeks. Funding for this is provided by the Polish government which will vaccinate the animals against rabies. The documentation is available on the Polish General Veterinary Inspectorate’s website.

As mentioned, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia are allowing animals in and once into the country the owners complete paperwork and comply with the regulations at that time. This precludes the need to abandon pets at the border.

Many refugees are travelling onwards to other EU countries which creates a potential complication in getting their companion animals into those countries. With respect to the transportation of companion animals, the EU is governed by the pet passport scheme which facilitates inter-country travel but the rules regarding animals coming in from a non-EU country are normally quite strict. That’s why Poland has relaxed these rules.

We are told that the European Commission directed EU member states to cut red tape for Ukrainian citizens arriving into the EU with companion animals. Accordingly, they suspended the requirement for a permit under Regulation (EU) 576/2013 until further notice according to the PETA report.

However, once the refugees are into those countries that have to contact the local veterinary authority to confirm the health status of the companion animal and complete the necessary tests and paperwork post-facto i.e. retroactively.

This makes a lot of sense although it clearly presents a small risk to those countries of the possibility of rabies being introduced. But the overarching objective is to avoid refugees been forced to abandon their animals at these borders and/or forcing refugees to make impossible decisions about either abandoning their animal or not travelling through to their EU country of destination.

Cat in bunker sheltering from the shelling above in Ukraine during Putin's invasion
Cat in bunker sheltering from the shelling above in Ukraine during Putin’s invasion. Photo: Reddit.

The UK

The UK appears to be behind EU countries in this regard. The UK is no longer in the EU. The latest report about five hours ago is that the government is in discussions with vets and quarantine facilities to allow refugees to come into the country with their pets without the usual paperwork and checks.

A lot of pressure has been placed upon the UK government to relax entry restrictions on pets for refugees fleeing the war.

Normally animals will have to be micro-chipped and have a pet passport or health certificate and a rabies vaccination. There are quite strict rules.

However, under the circumstances it is entirely unreasonable to expect Ukrainian refugees to comply with these regulations. And it appears that the Ukrainian standards regarding micro-chipping and vaccinations might be a little lower than in EU countries.

For instance, CDC in America state that rabid dogs are commonly found in Ukraine. On the UK government website, they state that Ukraine is a high-risk level in respect of rabies. Rabies was eradicated from the UK many years ago. Clearly therefore, this is a very real concern. However, the symptoms of rabies are very apparent and I would have thought that they would have been present well before the animals get to the UK.

PETA have stated that “many vulnerable animals are therefore being left behind without their guardians”. They are referring to the rabies antibody test through blood analysis which takes days or even weeks which is preventing refugees entering the UK with their animals. They urge the government to relax the rules and refugees to stay with their animals.

Dominic Dyer, an animal advocate who worked with Mr Farthing in getting animals out of Afghanistan when the Taliban took over, said that: “If UK policy remains that no companion animals can enter the UK with refugees, we could see tens of thousands of dogs and cats having to be euthanised in Poland, Hungary and Romania in the weeks ahead.”

However, it seems that at this present moment the UK government is working out a method to allow companion animals into the country so that refugees’ travel into the UK is not impeded and that they’re not forced to make an impossible decision to stay where they are or leave their pets behind.

Refugees should be reassured that a solution will be found for those who wish to travel to the UK. The UK is generous in terms of animal welfare.

Below are some more articles on Ukraine.

Please search using the search box at the top of the site. You are bound to find what you are looking for.

EU’s bureaucratic pet transportation rules causing cats and dogs to be abandoned at border by Ukrainian refugees?

NEWS AND COMMENT: Mercifully, it appears that the EU countries bordering the Ukraine have loosened their pet transportation/immigration requirements to prevent the abandonment of cats and dogs and other animals at the border. But the information is not entirely clear while the new arrangements are put in place. As up to 400,000 refugees are evacuating Ukraine it is highly likely that there will be a large number of companion animals also on the move with these people and it is also likely that there will be many abandoned cats and dogs and other animals which is tragic.

The rules regarding the importation of pets into the EU are complicated. They include the necessity for micro-chipping and a negative blood test for rabies. The pet passport governs transportation of pets within the EU; a dramatically simplified system. The problem is bringing pets into the EU from outside of the EU.

Ukraine is not part of the EU. PETA has been involved, it appears, in facilitating the importation of pets with refugees. Common sense dictates that many Ukrainian refugees, escaping the war, are bringing their companion animals with them.

It’s tragic to see because I’ve seen people carrying cats in their hands. They’ve travelled many miles like this without a cat carrier. This is extremely hazardous for the cat especially bearing in mind the frightening conditions. I would expect many cats to be lost under the circumstances.

Moroccan medical student in Ukraine flees with his two cats without a carrier
Moroccan medical student in Ukraine flees with his two cats without a carrier. Photo: Reuters

PETA does report that animals have been left behind at borders because at one stage border control officers were enforcing the usual European Union pet importation requirements. Refugees could not meet these requirements because they had evacuated their homes as a matter of urgency. They were presenting themselves at the border with their companion animals and being forbidden entry because they didn’t have the required paperwork for their animals. That’s tragic.

And it seems that PETA have been involved in facilitating the importation of these refugee animals.

They now report as at February 25, an increasing number of countries bordering Ukraine such as Hungary and Poland and Romania making entry for animals less bureaucratic.


They say that Romania has introduced new regulations. The chief veterinary authority in Bucharest has introduced an exception which allows animals from Ukraine to enter Romania when they are not vaccinated, micro-chipped or identified through a tattoo and even if they have no papers at all as long as a particular form is completed which you can obtain online by clicking on this link.

The form is a Google docs form and it is in Romanian. Anyway, if you are entering Romania from Ukraine as a refugee with your pet, I am told by PETA that you need to complete this form. Refugees entering Romania from Ukraine with a pet need to visit the Sanitary Veterinary Point at the border. The form can be filled out online at the border apparently.

It appears that a maximum five animals are allowed. PETA are receiving conflicting information because they report that sometimes people are being barred from entry with their pets into Romania.


Poland have also waived the usual requirements for entry of cats and dogs into their country. Refugees need to complete transition paperwork for the animals in lieu, I believe, of the usual procedures which as mentioned are complicated.

Refugees passing through Poland to another country need to leave their pets behind in quarantine at a shelter for three weeks. That will not be acceptable to many people I believe. PETA urges people to stick with their animals if at all possible. I would definitely endorse that. It’s going to be so easy to lose your companion animal under these circumstances.


PETA also tells us that Hungary appears to have relaxed the entry requirements for pets. Refugees also need to complete transition papers from Hungary’s National Food Chain Safety Office. There is a webpage and on it is a downloadable form called a “registration page” (click here). I’ve downloaded it and it doesn’t look great. It’s obviously in Hungarian and it looks complicated. You’re going to need to print it out and completed by hand. This may present problems to some people and perhaps some people won’t have the required information. I can see this being a problem.

Let’s wish them well. This is a traumatic time for people and their pets. I read that Germany is forbidding entry of refugees and pets without the usual EU’s bureaucratic procedures being completed. That may be incorrect but it does take a while for the EU to change their policies albeit temporarily. The institutions which administer the EU are inherently bureaucratic.

Please search using the search box at the top of the site. You are bound to find what you are looking for.

Australians will be able to take their cats on planes out of a carrier

NEWS AND COMMENT: It seems like the Holy Grail of feline air travel because a change is afoot in Australia. Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority is relaxing the rules governing the transportation of pets on aircraft. It’s reported that pets could soon be allowed to join their owners in the cabins and depending upon the animal they won’t have to be inside a carrier under the seat or next to the owner. That’s my interpretation. Ironically when I searched for ‘pets’ on the Civil Aviation Safety Authority’ website, it found nothing on the topic! Nada. So where does the information come from?

The Daily Mail reports: “Airlines have the choice to allow cats and dogs to sit with their owners on flights”. And there is a picture of a dog on a lead on their owner’s lap. There is no doubt in my mind that we need more accurate reporting. I’d advise that interested people do further research.

Cat on a plane out of carrier
Cat on a plane out of carrier. Photo in public domain.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority laws banning pets from cabins will be eased. They are giving individual airlines discretion as to how they allow customers to travel with their cats and dogs. But the rules allow the animals to sit with their owners on flights. The next stage in the process is to wait for airlines such as Qantas, Jetstar, virgin Australia and Rex to announce changes.

I’m told that captains will have the power to allow animals to sit in the cabin but they will have to follow specific guidelines. What we’re talking about here, I believe, is giving customers the power to make decisions based upon guidelines. It’s a kind of freeing up of the process of travelling with your companion animal.

There will need to be some sort of constraints on the animal for obvious reasons. You can imagine how chaotic it might be if you’ve got a cat sitting next to their owners in the cabin. A strange place and other strange animals and people around might well lead to unwanted behaviour including perhaps inappropriate elimination and fights! They say that a small animal in the cabin would have to be, as a minimum, restrained during takeoff and landing and during turbulence.

If my interpretation is correct, I can foresee cats who have been leash trained sitting next to their owners or on their owner’s lap on a leash rather than under the seat in a carrier which is far less pleasant, at least potentially, for the cat and person.

At the moment the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority only allow customers to take their pets on planes if they are kept in the cargo hold in a cage. We all know how problematic that is in terms of animal health and welfare. And it causes a lot of anxiety both to the animal and owner. Contemporary Persian cats are banned from the hold as I recall because of breathing issues. There have been fatalities I believe.

I welcome this step, as I’m sure cat owners in general will. There are responsibilities, though. It’s going to need a good dose of common sense to ensure that it works out properly. I can see most cat owners using a carrier. There’ll be very few capable of managing their cat on a lead under these circumstances. In fact, there are very few leash-trained cats in any case.

There is also the tricky problem of being in a large airport with your cat on a leash! There have been some disasters; cats getting lost at airports. But I can see a well-trained cat on a leash doing well flying this way. Although, there won’t be many cats who are suited to flying with this freedom. And their owners might be as anxious with their cat out of a carrier as in the hold unless the cat has ‘the right stuff’. Some cats do.

On an associated subject there are apparently 13 airlines that allow flying with a cat in cabin. They are listed below. You will have to contact the airline for specific details as to how it takes place but there will be a maximum weight, a maximum carrier size and, of course, the cost will vary. Whether the airline allows international travel with pets in the cabin is also dependent upon the airline concerned.

  1. Alaska Air
  2. Air Canada
  3. American Airlines
  4. Delta
  5. JetBlue
  6. Southwest
  7. United Airlines
  8. Air France
  9. Air Europa
  10. Vueling
  11. Aegean Airlines
  12. TUI
  13. Lufthansa


Please search using the search box at the top of the site. You are bound to find what you are looking for.

How much for an animal health certificate (AHC)?

An animal health certificate (AHC) is now required in the UK in place of the pet passport to take cats and dogs to the EU and it costs £93.50p.

AHC - Animal health certificate
AHC – Animal health certificate. Image: PoC.

Now that the United Kingdom has definitively left the European Union, from 1 January 2021, taking a pet abroad is more expensive than when the UK was part of the European Union. This is because the pet passport scheme between the UK and the EU has ended and in its place pet owners will have to obtain an animal health certificate (AHC) which can be issued only by a registered veterinarian and which costs £93.50p (at the time of this post).

It must be obtained at least 10 days before travelling and it is valid for four months but only for a single trip. Vaccinations or medications are paid for in addition and separately. A microchip is £16.28p and will last for life. Rabies vaccinations costs £50.40p and must be repeated every three years to allow continual travel. This information comes from the Royal Veterinary College.

At the time of writing it appears that the UK government website is not fully up to date. Not doubt it will be soon as the UK left the EU two days ago. I’d recomment visiting the UK government website on pet travel. There is also some contact details there if you can’t find what you are looking for. Click this link.

If you click on the link below you can download an animal health certificate:

Animal Health Certificate

There is more information in the post below:


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